South African companies taking part in the Outward Selling Mission (OSM) in Kenya have identified several business opportunities in different sectors. The companies have been in Kenya since Sunday and have participated in business seminars, business- to-business meetings, as well as a site visit to a company with South African linkages.
The delegation visited PG Bison Kenya in Nairobi, which specialises in the supply of decorative wood-based panel products such as particle boards, flooring and door skins to the construction and furniture sector. The plant, which has been operating since September 2002 and employs 150 workers, supplies to the different sectors in Nairobi and the East Africa region. According to Ms Ntombenhle Khathwana, the CEO of AfroBotanics which manufacturers hair and body products from essential oils and natural ingredients sold in 317 SA retails store chains, PG Bison is a perfect example to emulate for South African companies harbouring ambitions of securing business in overseas markets. “I came to Kenya to understand the Kenyan market better, from a regulatory business perspective as well as from a consumer perspective. I had already attempted to enter the Kenyan market through Game Stores but the regulatory issues were preventing me, so this trip was a blessing, bringing me here to meet the role players,” said Khathwana. She added that she already knew that Kenya has a fast-growing natural hair movement where women are opting away from chemically straightening their hair, but did not realise how big that target market was, nor how and where they buy their products. “I was able to successfully unlock the issues preventing my products from entering Kenya through Game Stores, which is already selling my products in five African countries besides South Africa. The business-to-business meetings we had assisted in fast-tracking my ability to send products through. AfroBotanics products will most likely be available in the Kenyan market in the next three months,” she said. Furthermore, she said she was able to have a good initial conversation with a Kenyan retailer of natural hair and body products that owns four stores. She has no doubt her products will soon find their way to these stores.
The Managing Director of Tarch Chemicals, Ms Gertrude Makamure said the meetings she had with several Kenyan businesses will result partnerships. “I have noticed that a lot of material can be supplied by South African companies here, particularly chemicals and related ingredients, at a much cheaper rate than is being currently supplied. The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has built the bridge for us, it is now up to us to cross it,” said Makamure.